Posted on June 29, 2012 - by ChuckFinder
The invitation was impossible to pass.
Eight Steelerettes, the same number as started this whole business a half-century earlier, were meeting in the Strip District to formulate plans for their 50th-anniversary reunion in October 2011.
The response was impossible to swallow: Fifty years? But none of you are older than 50, are you?
These grand grandmas provided some photos, some fun, some nostalgia — Andy Williams? Pat Boone? — reeling through the years since they and the Cleveland Browns’ cheerleaders were the first to grace an NFL sideline.
The fun bunch had lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse. (Mrs. Author and I later imbibed in toasted raviolis and the Turin Trio — a detectable Italian flair so far to these interviews, eh?) There was Norreen Modry, Jeanne Rattigan, Marlene Pizutti, Lynn Moran, Diane Rossini, Denise Hughes, Barbara Kruze and Valerie Miller. There were tons of stories (the tell-all a few of them could write) and laughs and good times. You have to bet that, after a little wine, their reunion was a blast.
Modry: “There were eight of us in ’61 at Forbes Field. There were 10 of us in ’62.”
Miller: “The largest group was ’64, when there were 16 of us. The second half of the year [when the weather chilled], we wore corduroy jumpers.”
Modry: “Black leotards with a little pleated skirt. Looked like a [roller-]skating skirt. Gold cummerbund with a gold bowtie.”
Rattigan: “Those were the worst uniforms. Ugly. The bowties went right here [on the left side of the neck]. And they didn’t have black tennis shoes in those days, so they dyed them black.”
Modry: “And your feet would turn purply.”
Miller: “I remember walking up [Cardiac] Hill behind Frenchy Fuqua, and he had that purple cape on. Those costumes he used to wear.”
Of course, the conversation got to Buddy Dial and that cannon — though I interviewed a few of the Ingots, the ill-fated, male cheerleaders who joined the Steelerettes for two years and never even knew they were called Ingots. But we also talked about some of the women who stood shorter than Andy Williams dancing in his Civic Arena show once.
Yes, there are a couple of pages worth of cheerleading memories in this book.
Next “The Steelers Encyclopedia” blog: Wednesday, July 4 — a holiday special about my personal Steelers Buck O’Neil